Nobby O'Reilly: cases hastily lodged

The chief executive of Pierse Construction has said the firm intends to honour all its commitments to the subcontractors who have lodged 32 High Court cases against it this year.

Nobby O'Reilly said he fully expected that all cases before the High Court would be settled before any further action is taken. The majority of cases, he said, involved subcontractors who had hastily lodged cases over money owned as a direct result of work carried out on developer Terry Devey's yet-to-open hotel at Grand Canal Square in Dublin, a project initially valued at €67m.

Pierse recently secured a summary judgement in the High Court against Devey for €1.2 million in relation to the project and is currently awaiting payment despite the conclusion of a three-week stay imposed by the court.

Pierse, one of the country's largest development companies, is involved in more than 70 High Court cases this year.

Meanwhile, O'Reilly said he did not receive notification from Dublin city council that there were concerns that the Cahills Print Factory in East Wall, which is part-owned by Pierse, was in danger of becoming derelict.

City councillor Clare O'Regan raised the issue of the site in July and was told that the council had written to the owners of the site, giving them time to carry out works "to prevent the site becoming derelict".

"This site was inspected and confirmed that the works required to be undertaken were completed. This site continues to be monitored by the derelict sites section on an ongoing basis. Planning permission was granted for a mixed-use development in 2007," a spokeswoman for the city council said last week.

Private clients of stockbroker Davy are also involved in the site, earmarked for a major office development, which was acquired for €32m in 2007 using €14m of equity from Davy and €2m from Pierse.

Davy has since written down the value of the investment by 90%.

Land added to the derelict sites register is subject to a financial penalty by the local authority, with a maximum of 3% of the market value being levied each year it remains on the register. In most cases, however, the problems are dealt with quickly.

If the problems remain unresolved then the authority can purchase the property, using a compulsory purchase order where necessary.